I don’t know about you, but those of us who at one time marked our schedules by which convention we were attending that month are really feeling the impact of these transformitive times.

Conventions are where we connect with our friends, our fans, and our family by choice. For those of us that find fandom our natural habitat, their absence is felt even more deeply in this time of isolation. Online events help fill that gap, but it isn’t quite the same.

Pros & Cons hopes to share stories of cons gone by from the authors and industry professionals around which those events shape themselves. We hope you will join us.

Unexpected Encounters
by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

The internet has expanded the fandom and literary communities exponentially. Often we ‘know’ people for years that we have never met in person. While wonderful, this can also be disconcerting.

Back in 2014, The World Fantasy Convention was in Washington DC. Through help and support from friends and family, I was able to attend. It was a wonderful experience, if not quite what I was used to. Very different creatures, World Cons. I enjoyed myself immensely, though.

I think one of my most favorite experiences of the weekend took place in an elevator. (Now you just get your mind out of that gutter…) I was going to a panel or something and the elevator doors opened. I happened to be standing in front of them on the inside waiting to get out, and of course, someone else was standing in front of them on the outside, waiting to get in. Someone I had never met before…but was, for some reason I couldn’t explain, very familiar. I looked down at the woman’s name tag and immediately threw my arms around her in quite the energetic hug.

She very graciously hugged me back instead of shoving me into next week.

That was my first in-person encounter with the lovely Brenda Cooper, who I had known for many, many years and even published, but had never met, given she lives in the Pacific Northwest. We spent many a meal and long walk together during that convention and even had conversations leading to our then brand-spanking-new publishing house, eSpec Books, publishing her novel POST.

I have been honored since then to interact with her in many other capacities, both professional and personal, and even made a trip out the Seattle for a visit, where Brenda and I toured the city.


Encounters like these are why I sometimes think of conventions as adult summer camp…brief moments in time where friendships form in a supercharged manner and those involved connect swiftly, and build on those connections over years of correspondence, punctuated by brief encounters as they see each other at convention after convention, year after year.

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